Summer in the Philippines is not only about beaches, but also about festivals and the month-long celebration of Flowers of Mary or more popularly known as Flores de Mayo, with its culminating event, the Santacruzan (Spanish word for Sacred Cross).
By tradition, the Rotary Club-Tagbilaran Chapter held their annual Santacruzan last May 26. The said activity served as the organization’s fundraising activity for 10 years now since it was launched in 2006. It started as a suggestion by Rotarian Baby Bantol to revive the traditional Santacruzan and materialized it in a way that it wouldn’t be just about the customary showcases of well-designed gowns worn by ala-beauty queen beauties, but rather, a fundraising event to aid the organization’s numerous service programs. So since then, the Santacruzan becomes a “tradition for a cause” for the Rotary Club of Tagbilaran.
A bit of History
What is Santacruzan? What is it really about? How it became to be part of the Filipino Tradition?
The Santacruzan is actually a religious beauty pageant practiced in small towns and cities all over the Philippines. This custom commenced after the declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception sometime in 1854, and following the publication circa of the translation of the devotional Flowers of Mary (Flores de Maria) by Mariano Sevilla. And because the month of May is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the activity is otherwise known as Flowers of May or Flores de Mayo.
Flores de Mayo memorializes the quest for the Holy Cross led by Queen Helena together with Emperor Constantine, her son. When found in Jerusalem, the Holy Cross was brought to Rome and thanksgiving celebration followed. Queen Helena, now known as St. Helen or St. Helena was the wife of Constantius Chlorus (the Roman Emperor from 293-306), and the mother of Constantine the Great (Roman Emperor from 306 to 337 AD). St. Helen is a significant figure in Christian history and the world in general for her influence and contribution in making Christianity a part of Western Civilization.
Moving forward, it was the Spaniards then who introduced such festival into the country. Since then, the Santacruzan holds an important part as one of the Filipino traditions embodying love, youth, and romance.
Santacruzan – the Rotarian way
This year, the celebration continues. It started from Saint Joseph Cathedral and wrapped up at the Bohol Cultural Center, attended by debutantes, philanthropists and socialites who manifested beauty and munificence. Governor Edgar Chatto and the First Lady of Bohol, Pureza Chatto, graced the occasion and did the honor of crowning Rotarian Genevieve Jamisola as Reyna Emperatriz.
The event ended with a grand coronation ball, followed by world-class performances from Isabel Mero, Tom Cesar Vergara, and from The Raes (which were composed of the lovely trio: Eva delos Santos and her daughters, Anna and Monique). The Raes were semi-finalists in this year’s Pilipinas Got Talent.
Congratulations to the Club President Mildred Kascher and her Co-Chairs Yelle Jubac and Baby Louella Bantol, together with all members of the Rotary Club of Tagbilaran, for the successful event and for their continued patronage to our historical tradition.
Here is the list of names who played royal that night:
Genevieve Jamisola – Reyna Emperatriz
Queenebeth Barcelona – Reyna Elena
Jazzy Jaeckel – Queen of May
Natalie Belle McGow – Reyna delas Flores
Arriane Maxine Lucas – Little Queen of May
Erika Sofia Karcher – Reyna del Mundo
Chime Marie Pajo – Methusela Reyna Banderada
Judiel Israel – Reyna delas Virgines
Patricia Camille Rocha – Rosa Mystica
Whoopi Jane Magdoza – Reyna delas Propetas
Erin Kate Javellana – Reyna Fe
Jasmine Cayanong – Reyna del Musica
Aiza Mae Cajigas – Reyna Justicia
Zyra Zamora – Reyna del Corazon
Alexandra Escalona – Reyna Esperanza
Gicelle Pagas – Reyna Caridad
Leirashir Cagas – Reyna Sheba
Vanessa Frances Gulle – Reyna Esther
Ima Cagas – Reyna Paz
Steffi Nin Madrona – Divina Pastora
Mary Jane Ungay – Queen of Patriarchs
Juvy Marie Igar – Reyna Mora
Mary Guadalou Maquindang – Reyna del Cielo
Carmen Aniscal – Queen of Saints
Juvelyn Marie Maestre – Sentenciada
Eila Recio – Reyna del Sol
Queenie Iyog – Veronica
Maria Andrea Laniba – Abogada
Sheenon White Vinalon – Samaritana
Joanna Esterado – Queen of Confessors
Maygan Joy Besa – Reyna delas Estrellas
Rose Marie Kelly – Queen of Angels
Veronica Escalona, Jacquelyn Maestre, Athena Lantana, Jane Knott– Angels